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My Graduate Story


Julia Kukoba

This blog post was written by Julia Kukoba, an international student from Ukraine who graduated from Roosevelt University in the Spring 2018 with an MBA degree.

While everyone was talking about the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as they became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, thousands of students around the world stepped into a new phase of their lives as they graduated from schools, colleges, and universities. I have my own story to tell, since only a week ago I received my MBA diploma from Roosevelt University in Chicago.

It is very common while in school to dream about your graduation day, but it is incredible how fast the time flies. In a flash, you are already standing on the main stage of your University and the President is shaking your hand and calling you an alumna/alumnus. In that moment you are extremely happy and proud of yourself. You know that it’s a great achievement and not everyone can afford to get a degree. At the same time, you are full of contradicting feelings. Most graduates do not have a clear picture of their future career, nor do they have a job, or even basic understanding of what they will be doing after the graduation day. I am basically going through the same situation right now. Moreover, being an international student does not make it any easier. To be completely honest, it makes it harder. But I also believe, if you sincerely want something and work hard for it, there is nothing that is impossible.

I had been waiting for the Graduation Ceremony, much like for my own birthday. The preparation starts right at the beginning of your last semester and goes until the actual Commencement Day. There are some routine errands that you have to take care of, such as: picking up your graduation gown and cap on the assigned days, picking up the tickets for your guests, completing the Career Development survey, signing your class banner, having your portrait taken by professional photographer, and, of course, doing well on your final exams. It seems like a lot at first, but usually the whole process goes smoothly, since the Department advisors keep sending reminder emails to students. I would like to give you some advice: do not procrastinate and be sure to practice your time management skills. This will help you successfully graduate and also will be beneficial in your future career.

For me, the Graduation Ceremony at Roosevelt University was not the first one, as I already have a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Ukraine. But, I was so excited to get my MBA degree from Roosevelt that I could not stop thinking and analyzing all the details and little things about the Commencement Day. I was remembering each and every day in college in my head and watching it like a movie. All my friends and classmates who were graduating with me kept talking about this big day and our future plans. It is incredible and amazing that we are all different, coming from all over the world, representing a variety of cultures, languages, religions, and beliefs. But, we all ended up at Roosevelt University in Chicago that gave us higher education degrees and raised us as professionals. From now on, we will always be Roosevelt alumni and Roosevelt University will be our alma mater.

I was appointed to be a Graduate Assistant at the Heller College of Business at Roosevelt University in my last semester at school. This gave me the opportunity to work closely with a lot of professors and, even, the Dean and the Associate Dean of Heller College of Business. I was glad to assist other students and tutor them in a variety of business school classes. I was honored to be a Graduate Assistant, considering it is a valuable experience. And then, something deeply touched my heart. When I was walking on the stage during the Graduation Ceremony, the Dean of the Heller College of Business, Asghar Sabbaghi, and the Associate Dean, Ganesh Vaidyanathan, personally shook my hand and congratulated me on my big day. That is something that distinguishes Roosevelt University among hundreds of other universities and colleges elsewhere: every student is treated in a professional manner.

Based on my personal experience, I am going to point out a few things that I consider useful for all the students who will be graduating one day. Firstly, it is totally normal not to have a detailed plan of what you will be doing after you graduate. Secondly, never stop trying. It is incredible how one thing can lead to another and eventually bring you to the place where you always wanted to be. If someone says you cannot do it, you just have to prove the opposite. Until people call your goals unrealistic, the bar is not set high enough. Thirdly, connections and networking are two essentials that you should not neglect. If you think you are strong enough by yourself, just try cooperating with other people, and you will be surprised how far you can get. And last but not least, always be grateful to your parents. I was unconditionally happy that my father was able to come from Ukraine to attend my Graduation Ceremony and I could tell him how much the support of my parents meant to me. As a conclusion, I would like to say two simple and quite corny, but very important things:
This is just the beginning! The best is yet to come!

Feeling inspired by Julia’s story and want to study at Roosevelt University? Visit our Contact Page to get in touch with the Student Enrollment Advisors and learn how international students can apply.